From molecules to marketplace
Published 9:44 pm Monday, August 4, 2014
A rising senior at Lakeland High School learned about the science-marketing connection during a summer program in New Jersey.
Sydney Ward was one of only 20 soon-to-be high school seniors selected for the BASF Science Academy, which drew from across America and at least one student from Canada.
Providing a glimpse of college life as well as cutting-edge science, the program ran at Fairleigh Dickinson University in Madison, N.J., for two weeks last month.
Email newsletter signup
“I plan to major in environmental science,” Ward said. “It’s really an in-depth program, and I was trying to see whether to go for a science major, or whether I might like to do something else.”
Following the theme “From Molecules to Marketplace,” divided into groups of four, students devised consumer products and marketing plans to sell them.
“The main purpose was to learn how to develop our own product,” Ward said. “We did the chemical engineering, then we did the marketing.”
They learned about “polymerization, the chirality and analysis of chemical components, the properties of fragrances and colors, environmental science, product development, product marketing, and product management,” according to a news release.
The student teams created personal care products, and Ward said her team came up with a moisturizing lotion.
“We targeted black and Hispanic people earning $50,000 to $75,000,” she said. “That was the highest lotion use.”
They came up with the name Infinity, she said, using a “starry background” in the packaging that was symbolic of “the infinite possibilities of space.”
At the end of the program, teams presented their concepts to BASF executives.
“We had two formal practices before the presentation,” Ward said. “Everybody was going over their parts all the time, figuring out the right voices to show everything in.
“It was really nerve-racking. I’m not one who always likes to speak in front of a large crowd.”
In the end, Ward’s team was declared the winner — though it wasn’t really a competition, she said.
Meeting other students with similar interests from other places was the best part of the experience, Ward said.
“We started a Facebook group before we went,” she said. “We all talked for months before, so once we got there, everybody knew each other well enough for it not to be awkward.
“We had homework every night, and we always did our homework … (and) went back off into our different groups and did our marketing strategy.”
Students graduated from the program with two transferable college science credits, and those who choose to attend Farleigh Dickinson will receive a $5,000 scholarship.
Ward said she’s still considering which college to attend. But the academy cemented what she wants study.
“My whole thing is I want to do something to help the planet, so that I can feel like I accomplished something in however many years I have here,” she said.